There’s dreaming and there’s doing. For many, a dream will remain a dream. For a big chunk of my life, I waited for the opportunity to do things. Despite a long list of dreams, “the opportunity” rarely presented itself. Eventually I learned that opportunities don’t just appear. They are created through a multitude of small steps all heading in the same direction. Dreams become reality through action.
How to Live Your Dream
1. Identify a dream
2. Start thinking about your dream as a goal
3. Determine what steps you need to take to reach your goal
4. Redirect your resources (time, energy, money, etc.) toward the first step
5. Repeat #4 until you reach your goal
Here’s an example. I dreamed of visiting India for 20 years. During those years, I thought a lot about India and I really, really, really wanted to go. I had the dream, but none of the doing. My intense desire to go to India got me nowhere for a long time.
When did things change? When I turned my dream into a goal my perspective shifted. A trip to India was no longer something that I wanted to “somehow” do “someday”. As a goal, it became a priority. This shift brought with it the motivation that propelled me in the right direction. I thought about the small steps I needed to take: save money, apply for a passport, and research travel options. How could I complete those steps? I’d need to cut expenses, visit the post office, and do some research. How could I complete those smaller steps? I’d go out less, I’d buy less, I’d read more, and eventually, I’d sell my house. Perhaps not surprising, once travel to India was a priority, it was easy to give up lesser priorities in order to complete each step toward the trip. By the time I was flying across the Atlantic, I had turned other dreams into goals and realized that a lot of things that had been sucking up my resources weren’t in line with my dreams. Dreams are indicators of our values. By aligning my resources with my dreams, I very quickly brought my life in line with my values. And this brought contentment.
As you create your resolutions for the new year, assess your dreams. Choose something that you really, really want, determine the steps, and redirect your resources toward those steps. Perhaps, by this time next year you’ll be living your dream.